“Laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us”

“And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. For think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Truly He is risen, Alleluia!

Happy Easter, everyone!

The Harrowing of Hell, in words and pictures

Adapted from a post from 

It is a great blessing to meditate on Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. Our Lord went there on this day to rescue the souls of the righteous, who were waiting in Limbo (not the place of eternal damnation, but a section of Hell nonetheless) for the redemptive act of Good Friday to take place.

The imagery of Hell is meant to be used as a tool; a deterrent. The actual horror of being separated from God, forever, by our own free choice, is something our intellect can barely grasp. The physical torments are but a proxy for the never ending sense of loss, and the pain of having made that personal choice, despite knowing better. Developing your relationship with Jesus Christ is the key to making right choices. He has told you what is important to Him, what hurts Him, and what He expects from you. He wants you to be with Him forever.

“For God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but unto the purchasing of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us; that, whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with him.” 1 Thes 5:9-10

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad infernos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell; On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

This is the Apostles’ Creed. It’s most commonly recited during the Rosary. Pious legend has it that each of the apostles contributed one the twelve articles of faith (represented by the twelve lines the creed is broken into). On the first Holy Saturday, the day Jesus descended into Hell, a real actual place, to rescue the just souls who had been waiting there in limbo for the coming of our Lord. Although they had died free from mortal sin, the gates of Heaven could not be opened to them without the redeeming sacrifice of the cross. So the day after the Crucifixion, Jesus went to free them.

Except, that’s not exactly accurate. To say that the gates of Heaven “could not” be opened prior to Christ’s redeeming sacrifice would be to place limits on God’s omnipotence. Time is a construct, and God is not bound by it. If He had so desired, He could have retroactively applied the merits of the cross to the righteous souls at the time of their earthly death, but He chose not to. Instead, He reserved the job to Himself to apply it “in person.”

Go ahead and picture yourself in the scene. Meditate on how hard it must have been for the righteous of antiquity to die in the state of grace, without ever knowing Christ. Think about how much easier we have it, with access to the fullness of Truth, the Barque, the Eucharist, the example of the saints. If the elect among the ancients could make it to the finish line, shouldn’t it be easy for us?

And yet.

The event has been stunningly depicted in iconography through the ages. Much of it is pretty graphic in terms of the furnishings of the place, and demons certainly do come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I’m reproducing a few tame examples here. Blessed Triduum to all.

Image result for harrowing of hell
Related image

In the Garden, the bitterness of unrequited love: “Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat”

Originally posted 

The Agony of Jesus Christ at Gethsemane is noteworthy for its intensity. I’ve always believed that the intensity of the terror was not driven primarily by thoughts of His impending Passion and death, for He certainly was no coward, but rather by the knowledge that His sacrifice would be wasted by a multitude through hatred and indifference. His desire for reciprocation of the deep personal love He has for each of us was/is so intense, that the sense of loss over His beloved but damned sons and daughters caused his earthly physical body to sweat blood (Luke 22:44). His spoken desire of “let this chalice pass” in Matt 26:39,42 could be referring to the Crucifixion, as tradition holds, but it seems to me there is something more. After all, God willed for the world to be reconciled to himself through this very sacrifice, and Jesus IS God. The will of Jesus, in both His divine nature and His human nature, united in the Hypostatic Union, were never at odds with God the Father: For He and His Father are of the same Essence.

Just prior to this, upon entering the garden, He said, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” (Matt 26:38) Is He sorrowful because He is about to ransom humanity through His Cross and Resurrection? Or is He sorrowful because so many would choose to ignore it? His terror and pain, it seems to me, is out of His love for those who would be lost; lost loves, so to speak, in spite of His own unyielding love and sacrifice. I’m not a scripture scholar, but it seems worth meditating on, for the sake of our own souls.

A great exercise on Good Friday is to pick a Gospel and read it all the way through. It really doesn’t take that long. I am going to leave you with the seventh chapter of Matthew, the third part of the Sermon on the Mount.

Remember that the Sermon on the Mount takes place at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. After the infancy narrative ends with chapter two, the introduction of John the Baptist and the baptism of the Lord in chapter three, and the temptation in the desert at the beginning of chapter four, He gets right down to business. Upon hearing of John’s death, Jesus immediately withdrew to Capernaum to begin the Galilean Ministry, as foretold in Isaiah. Preaching His message of repentance (4:17), He chose his first disciples (4:18-22), and then began drawing large crowds (4:23-25), primarily through working miracles.

Now that He had everyone’s attention, it was time for the big reveal. The Sermon on the Mount begins with chapters five and six forming a sort of catechism, and the central theme is something like, “You all think you know what’s what? Well, I’m here to take it up a notch.” He goes on to explain a litany of sinful behavior, and how we’re so much more wretched then we even knew. But then we get to chapter seven, where He offers hope, through repentance, prayer, obedience, and love. He wants to be loved.

Enter ye in at the narrow gate, my friends. Blessed Pascal Triduum to all.

The Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 7: The third part of the Sermon on the Mount:

[1] Judge not, that you may not be judged, [2] For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. [3] And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? [4] Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? [5] Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

[6] Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you. [7] Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. [8] For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. [9]Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? [10] Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?

[11] If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him? [12] All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets. [13] Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. [14] How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! [15] Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

[16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

[21] Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. [24] Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, [25] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.

[26] And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, [27] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof. [28] And it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine.[29] For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees.

“In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them. They cried to thee, and they were saved”

Holy Thursday marks the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. What an incredible gift, and yet how very much it is ignored, or worse. Get to Confession, folks. Sorrowful Mysteries these three days. Blessed Triduum, all. -nvp

“Holy Thursday celebrates especially the institution of the Mass at the Last Supper as the Sacrifice and Sacrament of Christian unity. On this day also, Jesus first shared His priesthood with men by ordaining the Apostles. Then He uttered the command that is the reason for every Mass: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” This is a day to think of the great love Jesus showed in instituting the Eucharist and to return that love by receiving Him in Holy Communion. Through Holy Communion we are united to Christ and to one another.”

During the Stripping of the Altars, the celebrant recites the following antiphon and begins Psalm 21.

They have divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they have cast lots.

Psalm 21: O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel. In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them. They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
“He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.”
For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother’s womb thou art my God,
Depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.
Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.
They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.
They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me.
They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.
But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me; look towards my defense.
Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man. Neither hath he turned away his face form me: and when I cried to him he heard me.
With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he shall have dominion over the nations.
All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.
And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

They have divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they have cast lots.



Spy Wednesday: “They did not recognize the Fount of Light”

Pope St. Leo the Great (d. 461) Sermon 59 (On the Passion, VIII.: on Wednesday in Holy Week.)

I. Christ’s arrest fulfills His own eternal purpose

Having discoursed, dearly beloved, in our last sermon, on the events which preceded the Lord’s arrest, it now remains, by the help of God’s grace, to discuss, as we promised, the details of the Passion itself. When the Lord had made it clear by the words of His sacred prayer that the Divine and the Human Nature was most truly and fully present in Him, showing that the unwillingness to suffer proceeded from the one, and from the other the determination to suffer by the expulsion of all frail fears and the strengthening of His lofty power, then did He return to His eternal purpose, and in the form of a sinless slave encounter the devil who was savagely attacking Him by the hands of the Jews: that He in Whom alone was all men’s nature without fault, might undertake the cause of all. The sins of darkness, therefore, assailed the true Light, and, for all their torches and lanterns , could not escape the night of their own unbelief, because they did not recognize the Fount of Light. They arrest Him, and He is ready to be seized; they lead Him away, and He is willing to be led; for though, if He had willed to resist, their wicked hands could have done Him no harm, yet thereby the world’s redemption would have been impeded, and He, who was to die for all men’s salvation, would have saved none at all…

IV. Christ bearing His own cross is an eternal lesson to the Church

And so the Lord was handed over to their savage wishes, and in mockery of His kingly state, ordered to be the bearer of His own instrument of death, that what Isaiah the prophet foresaw might be fulfilled, saying, Behold a Child is born, and a Son is given to us whose government is upon His shoulders.  When, therefore, the Lord carried the wood of the cross which should turn for Him into the sceptre of power, it was indeed in the eyes of the wicked a mighty mockery, but to the faithful a mighty mystery was set forth, seeing that He, the glorious vanquisher of the Devil, and the strong defeater of the powers that were against Him, was carrying in noble sort the trophy of His triumph, and on the shoulders of His unconquered patience bore into all realms the adorable sign of salvation: as if even then to confirm all His followers by this mere symbol of His work, and say, He that takes not his cross and follows Me, is not worthy of Me Matthew 10:38 .


Laramie Hirsch on the April 8 solar eclipse

Guest post: Laramie Hirsch on the April 8 solar eclipse

Recently, I posted a link discussing a Catholic view of astrology. Please note I DO NOT, nor would I ever, hold the same view as witches and pagans. As Catholics, we don’t ascribe power to the stars in the sky, but rather view them as part of God’s Creation. After all, He used the stars to guide the shepherds to Our Lord. The stars & planets do not control earthly happenings; rather, everything that happens is due to Providence, not the movement of some planet. In this guest post, Laramie Hirsch, formerly of “Forge and Anvil,” shares with us his knowledge of astronomy & upcoming events in the sky, including the April 8 solar eclipse. For your discernment. – NC

The Second Great American Eclipse
By Laramie Hirsch
The LORD said to Moses, “If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign.”
Exodus 4:8
“All the world’s a stage.” -William Shakespeare

There has been a large amount of discussion in regards to the upcoming 2024 eclipse over the United States. A lot of the conversation revolves around Providential, prophetic themes of omens and eschatology. It therefore probably behooves us to have an exhaustive, comprehensive overview of the facts and implications for all who are interested in this topic.

But as we delve into this season of wonders, there is something the reader should know. This period of astronomical spectacles we are about to experience consists of more than just the total solar eclipse of April 8th. True, that total solar eclipse is most certainly the centerpiece of the action. However, there are other heavenly phenomena to take note of, which include:

-Two lunar eclipses
-A total solar eclipse
-A later annular solar eclipse-A previous, recent annular solar eclipse (it happened last year)
-A comet
-Unique planetary conjunctions
-Ominous zodiacal arrangements

So, let’s get started immediately before going into the weeds with this subject.

April 8th Scientific Facts:

  1. This will be the second total eclipse to cross the United States within a decade.
  2. In fact, this is the first time two total eclipses, within only ten years, have crossed the United States since it was founded.
  3. If we count the days between these two total solar eclipses in the old Hebrew manner–that is, a day begins at sunset (See Genesis 1:5)–then we can say that this eclipse occurs after six years, six months, six weeks, and six days from the day of the first eclipse.
  4. Also, however, the 2017 and 2024 total eclipses will be exactly 7 eclipse years apart (also known as 7 draconic years apart).
  5. The second Great American Eclipse will cross the previous eclipse path, marking a giant X across the United States.
  6. The precise center of this X will be over the New Madrid Fault.
  7. There was a previous October 14, 2023 annular eclipse in between these two great eclipses.
  8. Venus and Jupiter will be visible during this total eclipse.
  9. A comet will possibly be visible during this eclipse. This comet is called 12P/Pons-Brooks, though it’s been nicknamed the “Devil Comet.”
  10. The Devil Comet should be visible in the skies at this time, and it is named so for a pair of horns it sported a few months ago.
  11. The horns of the Devil Comet were caused because it is an irregular, unique, explosive, highly volatile comet.
  12. The Devil Comet is green.
  13. Two weeks before this momentous eclipse, on March 25th, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse.

April 8th Religious Facts and Context:


Last minute Lenten almsgiving: Canceled Carmelite priest in India needs help


“Father Thomas Maria Paul is a Carmelite priest currently residing in Kerala, India and was ordained in the Syro Malabar eastern Rite. He has experienced firsthand the effects of modernism and a loss of faith within the Eastern Rites. Through a deepening of faith and desire to remain faithful to tradition, Father Thomas found refuge in learning the Traditional Latin Mass. His zeal for tradition has left him abandoned by his religious community and Bishop within the Eastern Rite. If it be God’s will, Father Thomas is hoping to build a small chapel and better accommodations for those interested in joining the community. Father Thomas is the only Catholic priest native to Kerala (7,000+) that we know to offer the TLM. Several priests and youth have already expressed interest in joining the community but without dedicated place for worship and formation this has been very difficult.”

“Father Thomas has been interviewed by the traditional Catholic YouTube channel “Ascent of Mount Carmel” and his situation has also been discussed on Anthony Stine’s “Return to Tradition” channel. I have included both links below if you are interested to find out more. Thank you for your prayers and support!”

Ascent of Mount Carmel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxOw-cqP6ts

Return to Tradition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGlNeQnv1Ww

The chastisement of our peace was upon him

A prophecy of the passion of Christ

 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  2 And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him:  3 Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.  4 Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.  5 But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.

 6 All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7 He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.  8 He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation? because he is cut off out of the land of the living: for the wickedness of my people have I struck him.  9 And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death: because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth.  10 And the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity: if he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand.

 11 Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities.  12 Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

Nurse Claire sends: On the upcoming solar eclipse

(Two weeks from tomorrow, on the transferred Feast of the Annunciation, a full solar eclipse will cross the USA from Texas to Maine. In conjunction with the 2017 eclipse, it will literally trace a cross over the nation. I have no idea what it means, if it means anything at all. I’m simply making note of it, and staying confessed. There will be more written in the coming days. Perhaps some speculation. After all, WWIII does seem to be fomenting, the stolen USA has now spent its way into irreversible collapse, and the stolen Church continues to submit its collective will to an apostate usurper. We are not going to play astrologer nor read tarot, I promise, but we are going to talk about the eclipse, and there is nothing wrong with that. -nvp)

On the upcoming solar eclipse

In case you missed it, on April 8 (the feast of the Annunciation this year since March 25 falls during Holy Week), there will be a solar eclipse that crosses the United States from south to north.

I feel compelled to comment on this as many Protestants and New Agers have globbed onto this event in order to promote various doomsday scenarios: the rapture, a “3 days of darkness” (a counterfeit one), and even the QAnon theory that the “white hats” will use the eclipse as cover for arresting the pedophile elites….or whatever.

So what does the Church say about signs in the sky? Among all the crazy talk out there, I’m going to link to some authentic Catholic teaching on how we should view these sort of astrological events.

For your discernment:


FDA loses its war on ivermectin, agrees to remove all social media posts and false claims regarding ivermectin and COVID

Well, well, well. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t issue medical advice. But hopefully I helpfully helped some folks in the early 2020s seeking alternate opinions on, you know, the thing. -nvp

FDA Settles Ivermectin Case, Agrees to Remove Controversial ‘Stop It’ Post

By Zachary Stieber

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to remove social media posts and webpages that urged people to stop taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to a settlement dated March 21.

The FDA has already removed a page that said: “Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19? No.”  Within 21 days, the FDA will remove another page titled, “why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19,” according to the settlement announcement, which was filed with federal court in southern Texas.

“The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals,” the page currently states. It also says that data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, despite how some studies it cites show ivermectin is effective against the illness.

The FDA in the settlement is also agreeing to delete multiple social media posts that came out strongly against ivermectin, including one that stated: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

“FDA loses its war on ivermectin and agrees to remove all social media posts and consumer directives regarding ivermectin and COVID, including its most popular tweet in FDA history,” Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, one of the doctors, said in a statement. “This landmark case sets an important precedent in limiting FDA overreach into the doctor-patient relationship.”

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the settlement as it is a victory for every doctor and patient in the United States,” added Dr. Paul Marik, chief scientific officer of the FLCCC Alliance and another plaintiff. “The FDA interfered in the practice of medicine with their irresponsible language and posts about ivermectin. We will never know how many lives were affected because patients were denied access to a lifesaving treatment because their doctor was ‘just following the FDA.’”